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THE LATEST NZJER


New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations
Volume 41  Number 2

In the latest New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations the following topics are covered. If you wish to read the full articles or download the entire NZJER issue you need to subscribe to the NZJER.

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Introduction
Gordon Anderson*, Guest Editor

The third biennial conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society was hosted by the Faculty of Law at the Victoria University of Wellington on 27 November 2015. In this issue of the Journal, we continue the tradition developed after the previous two conferences of publishing a special labour law issue containing a selection of papers presented at the conference. In doing so, it is our intention to disseminate to a wider audience the discussions and issues presented at the conference by a broad range of contributors, both young and old, from academia and from legal practice. In this issue of the Journal, we publish six papers, with further papers to be published in a second Issue.

*Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington


Labour Law and Human Rights
Virginia Mantouvalou*

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between human rights and labour law. It first explores the reasons for the resistance to examining labour rights as human rights. Second, it turns to European human rights developments in order to assess the case law of the European Court of Human Rights in this context. It presents an interpretive technique adopted by the Court, the integrated approach, which takes note of social and labour rights in the interpretation of civil and political rights. The article argues that the integrated approach to interpretation needs firm theoretical grounding, and the third part suggests that the prohibition of workers’ exploitation is an important underlying principle that should guide our understanding of labour rights as human rights. It develops a definition of workplace exploitation on the basis of theoretical literature, and suggests some of its implications for the adoption of the integrated approach to interpretation.

*
UCL, Faculty of Law. Written as part of the Third Biennial Labour Law Conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society (Wellington, 27 November 2015)

Employee-Citizens of the Human Rights State
Dr Jonathan Barrett*

Abstract

This paper considers the position of rights-bearing citizens as employees. It is argued that the rights and responsibilities of citizenship should be fully exercisable within employer organisations. Contractual terms which restrict an employee’s rights should be deemed void. Furthermore, employees should have a basic right to refuse to perform any action that negatively affects their own or their fellow citizens’ rights. In this way, full human flourishing will be furthered in the workplace, and corporations, in particular, will be made more accountable to the societies which enable them to exist and prosper.

*Senior Lecturer, School of Accounting and Commercial Law, Victoria University of Wellington. Written as part of the Third Biennial Labour Law Conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society (Wellington, 27 November 2015).


Privacy Law Reform in New Zealand: Will it Touch the Workplace?
Paul Roth*

Abstract

This paper explores the implications of the introduction of new information-gathering technologies into the workplace. It concludes that, unfortunately, proposed reforms to the Privacy Act 1993 are unlikely to ‘step in’ to protect workers’ rights to privacy. A comparison between privacy complaints in the workplace in New Zealand and Hong Kong demonstrates a regrettably lax approach on the part of New Zealand’s privacy regulatory actors and bodies. The issue of workplace surveillance is only going to become more vexed over time, as new emerging technologies develop.

*
Professor of Law, University of Otago

A Bad Day at the Sausage Factory: The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Jeff Sissons*

Abstract

This paper outlines key concerns relating to New Zealand’s new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It puts the Act in context as the most recent governmental attempt to reform health and safety in the workplace. The reports of the Independent Taskforce and the Royal Commission provided an opportunity to address New Zealand’s poor workplace health and safety record, however the Government has failed to do so effectively. This paper identifies significant issues with the Act, particularly with regards to worker participation and the use of work groups to push for change.

* General Counsel, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions – Te Kauae Kaimahi

Occupational Health And Safety: Why And How Should Worker Participation Be Enhanced In New Zealand?
Viktoriya Pashorina-Nichols*

Abstract

This paper provides a brief overview of the international academic commentary on the subject of worker participation in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and then considers the character of worker participation in New Zealand OHS management (OHSM) in more detail. The paper highlights how vital worker participation is for the health and safety (H&S) of workers. The paper concludes that the changes introduced by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSW Act) provide evidence that New Zealand has taken steps in the right direction, but there is further room for improvement; in particular H&S representatives and H&S committees should be available to all workers without exceptions.

*Victoria University of Wellington Law Graduate, currently working at Simpson Grierson in Auckland.

Regulating Work That Kills Us Slowly: The Challenge of Chronic Work-Related Health Problems
Dawn Duncan*

Abstract

New Zealand has a long history of neglecting the chronic health effects of work. Recent health and safety reforms, including the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, risk continuing this neglect, with serious negative consequences for worker health. This paper proposes three areas of legislative reform needed to begin to tackle the growing challenge of chronic work-related health problems in New Zealand. 

* Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington. Written as part of the Third Biennial Labour Law Conference of the New Zealand Labour Law Society (Wellington, 27 November 2015).

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